Spindrift by Anna BurkeSpindrift by Anna Burke is a delightful small-town romance that explores overcoming grief and self-doubt.

Emilia Russo is tired. Working as a shelter vet, her days consist of saving the small number of animals the shelter can afford to treat and euthanizing the rest. When her father unexpectedly dies of a heart attack, it pushes her over the edge resulting in a mental breakdown. When she gets out of the hospital, her girlfriend is long gone. Emilia decides to withdraw to her father’s house in Seal Cove, Maine. Her plan is to spend the summer renovating his house before she puts it on the market. More importantly, she needs to pick up the pieces of her life and try to heal. The grief over her father’s death seems insurmountable, but she’s determined to face it one day at a time.

Morgan Donovan is living her best life. She’s got her dream job as a large animal veterinarian, a life rich with loyal friends, and a loving fiancée. Morgan’s devastated when her fiancée dumps her under the assumption Morgan’s job will always be her top priority. Suddenly Morgan’s perfect life isn’t so perfect after all. Despite the support of her friends, her heart is broken.

When Emilia goes to check on the condition of her father’s sailboat, she immediately notices her childhood crush hanging out at the dock. When she was young, she went unnoticed by Morgan, but now that she’s back and drop-dead gorgeous, she immediately captures Morgan’s attention. Morgan was a friend of Emilia’s father, and she knows Emilia must be hurting. Before Emilia knows it, she’s become part of Morgan’s world. It’s one thing for Emilia to hang out with Morgan and her roommates, but she knows acting on her attraction to Morgan will only lead to complications, and those are the last things she needs.

As summer turns to fall, both women realize the draw between them is too strong to deny. They are two consenting adults. They know that it’s only a matter of time before Emilia sells the house so what’s wrong with a casual fling? The intimacy they find in each other’s arms begins to heal their broken hearts. When renovations on the house are complete, both women realize their connection has grown into something meaningful – something they’ve both been longing for.

Are Emilia and Morgan willing to make serious, life changes to stay together or will the summer be remembered as just a casual fling?

The Characters

When we meet Emilia and Morgan they seem like a perfect fit. It’s just a matter of time until they see it for themselves. They’ve got great chemistry from the start despite their rather rocky first meeting. Everything that happens afterward kept me glued to my Kindle.

Emilia’s a mess; a beautiful and smart mess, but a mess, nonetheless. Her grief over her father’s passing is complicated because he was an active alcoholic. He lost shared custody of her in her teens, so their relationship was strained. His death compounded with the death that surrounded her as a shelter veterinarian left her feeling like her life might not be salvageable. What I really like about the book is Emilia’s healing is at the forefront of the story. She understands she doesn’t have anything substantial to offer anyone until she sorts herself out. It was romantic and divine to watch Morgan help her put the pieces of her life back together. It doesn’t happen in one sweeping encounter. Bit by bit Morgan helps Emilia find her way back to herself. Once everything locks back into place the only question is what’s she’s willing to change if she wants to make a life with Morgan. You’ll have to read the book to find out, but it is a romance so…

I adore Morgan. Everyone should have a friend like her in their life. She has boundless energy and greets everyone and every day with enthusiasm. She’s also a butch goddess ready to rescue a damsel in distress when necessary. She’s a dedicated veterinarian and her goodness is reflected in the way she treats her animal and human clients. She recognizes the pain lurking behind Emilia’s eyes and decides to ignore the initial spark she feels for her and offer friendship instead. The reader knows early on Morgan’s fiancée has left her. The lasting effects on her psyche are revealed slowly throughout the book until Morgan realizes her deep feelings for Emilia. Those strong emotions trigger her fight or flight response and she runs for the hills. Morgan is so steadfast throughout the story; her reaction surprised me and made me question if there’d be a happily ever after.

The Writing Style

The pacing and the plot are spot on. Spindrift is told from both Emilia and Morgan’s points of view. We get to be up close and personal as they navigate their attraction towards each other. At times it’s an awkward dance highlighting the waring emotions roiling inside them. Between the dialogue and gorgeous insights behind their actions, Burke crafts two character arcs that are a pleasure to watch unfold.

Did you know that disappointment tastes like copper or that someone else’s grin can pour down your spine like sunlight? Descriptions like these enhance the story and bring this romance to life in charming ways. I’m always impressed with Burke’s word choice. Her ability to use similes and metaphors that are original without feeling clichéd is beyond impressive.

You know I always like to talk about sex in the romances I read so let’s get to it. The love scenes between Emilia and Morgan are hot – very hot. There’s an urgency to them that will leave you breathless. What struck me the most is Emilia’s shameless desire to take charge of her own sexual needs. She might feel unsteady due to the events surrounding her career and her father’s death, but she approaches sex with confidence and agency. I don’t often find romances with femme tops and butch bottoms so this was a treat. Throw a sex toy into the mix and I’m a happy reader.

The Pros

So many pros, where do I begin? The cast of supporting characters is enchanting. Each one of them is delightful. The farmhouse they live in is filled with joy and good humor. Burke gives each character enough page time to allow the reader to get to know them as individuals. This is exciting because Spindrift is book one in the Seal Cove Romances. I already have strong opinions about what’s in store for Morgan’s roommates.

For animal lovers this book is a treat. Never having owned pets, I got a real sense of the comfort and companionship a four-legged friend can add to a person’s life. Just about every character in the book is a veterinarian so I learned things about the care and treatment of animals I’d never considered. I could have done without the horse in need of a rectal exam, but I guess that’s part of the job. (Don’t worry, there’s not a lot of detail.)

The Cons

Nothing for me.

The Conclusion

victorias favourite bookstaras favourite lesbian booksI was so excited to read Spindrift because everything I’ve read by Burke has been fantastic. When it landed in my hands, I suddenly became a little skittish. Burke has only written speculative fiction in the past. I thought, “What if her first dive into the romance genre turns out to be an epic fail?” I was just being silly. While Spindrift is a traditional romance, there’s nothing ordinary about it. The story deals with difficult topics and universal truths. The loss of a parent or the end of a relationship can unleash a horde of insecurities and self-doubt. The story also celebrates the strength and support found in the friendship between this group of women, and it illustrates the redemptive power of love. I found everything I was hoping for in Spindrift. The caliber of the writing is impeccable, and the character work is top notch. This is a romance not to be missed.

Excerpt from Spindrift by Anna Burke

Real, she thought as she lay in the darkness of her father’s house. Real was a good word for Morgan. Real. Solid. Grounded. Everything that was missing from her own existence. Was that why she was so drawn to her? Hannah had been real in a different way—never stopping, always moving, creating the universe she wanted around her. Emilia had been sucked in like a satellite. What, she wondered now, would life be like in Morgan’s orbit? It occurred to her suddenly that she knew very little about Morgan’s past. Far less, in fact, than Morgan knew about her own. The disparity was disquieting.

But do I want to know? She’d had to tell Morgan about her recent past because it informed so much of her present—including the unspoken matter of her imminent departure. Falling for Morgan would complicate that and make it even harder to decide what to do about her father’s house. And falling was a very real danger.

Anna Maria was right. She wasn’t ready for someone like Morgan, nor was she capable of pushing her away.

“I’m so fucked,” she said into her pillow.

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